Christ The Anointed One: God’s Service, Suffering, Salvation

All of salvation history revolves around the events of Holy Week. God, who created all things, and found them good, who created man and woman in his image and found them very good. The creation account reveals the creative nature of God, who is love. It also reveals that the human person is created for communion with God, to ‘walk with God’ in perfect love and harmony.

After the parents of all humanity fell into sin, God remained faithful, ever looking for ways to reconcile us to himself, through covenants, prophets, priests and kings – all converging and culminating in Jesus Christ, Son of David and Son of God.

All of salvation history crescendos in the days that are once again unfolding before us – as Jesus makes his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem.

Jesus is the one whom the scriptures foretold as the Great Prophet – the Eternal High Priest – the King of Kings – the One who will establish the New and Eternal Covenant between God and his people. But within this reality a great tension now builds – a tension between how the people understood (and perhaps still understand) who the Messiah would be, and how the Messiah would accomplish the plan of God.

As this Holy Week begins, I am asking myself two questions:

What kind of God do we have?

What kind of people are we?

What God, who is eternal, all-knowing and all-powerful sends his Son to earth from heaven? Why does such a God choose the path of humility and service? to dwell among us, his people?

One answer suffices: The God who created us out of love, redeemed us out of love; the God who is Love.

As for the second question: what kind of people are able to deny this faithful, infinite love of God? Why would people choose to kill the one who by his words and teaching demonstrated himself to be the Son of God? Could it be that this is a people who are afraid of the demands of such a Loving God?

Are we still a people who fear the consequences of embracing such a Love? Is this not a people who have grown too comfortable with their own ‘concept’ of God, and are unwilling and or incapable of embracing such a God and all that is implied by being in relationship with Him? Of responding to such a Love with a corresponding love?

Are we all that different from the Pharisees and Scribes who were more concerned about maintaining their power and the status quo rather than believe in Jesus as the Promised One sent by God – who is God?

Romano Guardini in his book, The Lord, (p. 257) sums up the deeper truth of what is at work in the heart and mind of Jesus as he enters Jerusalem:

Jesus knows himself to be the Messiah, the Anointed One par excellence. He is the King. His realm consists of those human hearts that are devoted to God, of the world that such hearts have transformed. He is the Priest; he lifts to the Father hearts made malleable by love and purged by contrition and fills them with God’s grace, that their whole existence may be one great mystery of union. And he does not act by force, but by the prophetic power and truth that is spirit and life (see John 4:24). The figure of the Messiah is immeasurably important. Not the word that he speaks, not the work that he performs, not the instructions that he gives are decisive, but what he himself is. Through him, the living one, heaven addresses earth, and man’s will is directed to heaven. In him worlds meet and fuse. There is no immediate relationship based on forgiveness and homecoming between man and the God of Revelation; only via the Intermediary runs the road from man to god and from Holiness to us, and he is entirely selfless, living not for himself, but for the honor of his Father and the salvation of his brothers.

Let us follow the example of Jesus during these Holy Days. Let us surrender everything in order to see him for who he truly is – the Son of God and Savior of the world.  Let us surrender everything so that we may receive his sacrificial love and gift of salvation. Let us surrender everything in order to respond with our own free gift of love.

Arcbishop Etienne

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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